GMPA

Tameside Poverty Truth Commission – Launch Event

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By Hannah Lamberth, Tameside PTC Facilitator

We are delighted to announce that tickets for the launch event of the Tameside Poverty Truth Commission are now available.

Poverty Truth Commissions are a unique and powerful way of developing new insights and initiatives to tackle poverty, taking place in over 15 towns and cities across the UK. They are built on a principle of participatory decision-making to tackle poverty, in which people with lived experience of poverty build relationships with those in positions of influence. Working together over an extended period of time, they co-create meaningful and longer-term solutions and change. The key principle behind Poverty Truth Commissions is that decisions about poverty must involve people who directly face poverty.

The Tameside Poverty Truth Commission

With the support of a start-up group consisting of a variety of Tameside organisations, charities and businesses, GMPA has established the Tameside Poverty Truth Commission. Over recent months Grassroots commissioners, people with direct experiences of poverty, have been meeting together to explore what it means to live in poverty in Tameside. Civic  and business leaders have been recruited to join the commission after the launch event. You can read more about the Tameside Poverty Truth Commission here.

This launch event is an opportunity for anyone working within, or with an interest in tackling poverty within Tameside, to hear these stories about the impact of poverty from people who we seek to serve. The event will be thought-provoking and challenging and demonstrate that while there are many incredible initiatives to tackle poverty in Tameside, there is still much to be done.

Once the launch event has been completed, the grassroots commissioners and civic and business leaders will start meeting regularly to build relationships with each other and identify issues that they would like to address collectively. After 12-18 months we will draw the project to a close and hold a closing event to share what we have collectively achieved.

Your invitation to the Launch event

The event will take place on Tuesday November 9th 2021 from 11:00 – 13:30 and will be held at the
4C Community Centre in Ashton-under-Lyne, OL7 9AN.

The link below provides more information about the event, as well as the booking form.
Places are extremely limited so please book now to avoid disappointment.

Please book your FREE place here

Hannah Lambeeth, Tameside PTC for GM Poverty Action

Hannah Lamberth
Administrator and Events Organiser – Tameside Poverty Truth Commission
Greater Manchester Poverty Action

The Tameside Poverty Truth Commission is a Greater Manchester Poverty Action programme.

 

i3oz9sTameside Poverty Truth Commission – Launch Event
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Poverty Monitor- new pages

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Worrying national trends detailed on GMPA’s Poverty Monitor

By Graham Whitham

We have added two new pages to the Greater Manchester Poverty Monitor. The first details some worrying national poverty trends, showing that poverty was growing among ‘at risk’ groups in the years leading up to the pandemic.

The National Poverty Data page uses data from the government’s Households Below Average Income data series. This provides data on UK poverty levels, broken down by a range of different family types and characteristics. The most recent data takes us up to the eve of the pandemic. Children in lone parent households, households containing a disabled person and families with three or more children have always been at greater risk of poverty. That risk has been growing in recent years as illustrated in the charts below. This is why it is so important that the Government retains to £20 Universal Credit uplift.

Chart 4 Poverty rate by number of children in the family for GM Poverty Action Poverty Monitor 2020

Chart 2 Poverty rate by family type for GM Poverty Action Poverty Monitor 2020

The National Poverty data page also includes a range of other selected data, including poverty rates by ethnicity and English region. For those of us working locally, it can be useful to look at national poverty data, particularly trend data, to understand what is happening to poverty over time. Many of the national trends are likely to be replicated in Greater Manchester. It can help us think about how policy and practice can respond to the changing nature of poverty among residents in our city region.

A second new page provides Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) data at ward level. The IMD combines information from seven domains to produce an overall relative measure of deprivation for small areas in England. The domains are: Income; Employment; Education; Skills and Training; Health and Disability; Crime; Barriers to Housing Services; Living Environment. The more deprived is an area, the higher the IMD score but the lower the rank. The IMD is published every four years and was most recently published in 2019.

There are two subsets to the IMD. The Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) subset measures the proportion of all children aged 0 to 15 living in income deprived families. The Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index (IDAOPI) subset measures the proportion of all those aged 60 or over who experience income deprivation.

IMD produces data for small geographic areas know as Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs). LSOAs aren’t coterminous with electoral wards, but ‘best fit analysis’ can provide a deprivation score and ranking for electoral wards in England using IMD.

You can download the IMD score, the average score by domain and the IDACI and IDAOPI scores for best-fit LSOAs in each electoral ward in Greater Manchester by visiting this page.

We are working to a full update of the Poverty Monitor in spring 2022. If you make use the Monitor we’d be really grateful if you could complete this survey. The information we gather will help us evidence the impact and usefulness of the Monitor to stakeholders and potential funders.

 

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#KeepTheLifeline

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The National #KeepTheLifeline Campaign

As you are no doubt aware, in October the Government plans to cut the £20 a week (£1040 a year) uplift paid to those in receipt of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit introduced at the beginning of the pandemic. For years before the pandemic, cuts and freezes to social security had already left many families living with constant financial insecurity.

This cut will have a huge impact on six million families and will be the biggest cut to the basic rate of social security since the modern welfare state began, more than 70 years ago.

Many charities, think tanks and leading organisations plus six former Conservative work and pensions secretaries   are urging the Government not to go ahead with this cut, which will further weaken social security support, cause severe hardship for families who are already struggling to stay afloat and generate a surge of people being pulled into poverty.

There is also an ongoing call on the Government not to discriminate against families receiving ‘legacy benefits’ such as Employment Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support by not giving them this uplift.

Since signing a joint open letter to the Chancellor last September, an ongoing campaign led by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), together with many organisations including GMPA, determined to prevent this cut, has been active.  If this is something you feel strongly about, there are many ways to get involved.

JRF have produced some very helpful tools.  You can read more about the campaign here and why this lifeline must be kept. 

•  There is a web page with information for Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit claimants including a template for writing to their MP.  A separate web page with information for legacy benefit claimants, again with a template for writing to their MP and a web page for supporters with write to MP instructions.

•  A ‘Campaign guide’ – for small organisations or leaders who are keen to get involved. It has details of the campaign, links to assets, write to MP guidance and suggested tweets.

•  A ‘Stakeholder toolkit’ – for larger organisations with networks.

What you can do to help

If you do one thing, write to your MP and/or request a meeting (see the helpful guide from the End Child Poverty Coalition for how to prepare). It is so important that MPs hear from as many different voices as possible about the impact of the cut – from charities, local leaders, claimants and supporters. We need them to know that this is a huge risk for families and communities, and for them politically.

Tell your network about the cut

Sadly, despite the severe impact this cut is likely to have on families, the complexity of the system and lack of communications means that too few recipients are aware it is due to happen and that it will affect them.

Raise the issue on your social media

Use the #KeepTheLifeline and help to keep this issue trending.

There are plans for a national day of action on August 17th.  Keep an eye on social media #KeepTheLifeline for more information. 

 

 

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New guide for local authorities on socio-economic duty implementation

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By Graham Whitham

At GMPA we are delighted to have published a new guide for local and combined authorities on voluntary adoption and implementation of the socio-economic duty. The guide is for use by organisations across England, including here in Greater Manchester.

We believe the socio-economic duty is a central element of the framework that localities seeking to address poverty should adopt. The duty ensures that local authorities assess the impact of policy and practice on socio-economic disadvantage. Adoption of the duty should be done meaningfully. The guide provides detail and advice on how to ensure that is the case, working closely with people with lived experience of poverty.

There’s a lot of interest in the duty in Greater Manchester following GMPA’s advocacy work on it over the last year or so. Wigan are applying the duty locally, and Salford and Trafford have committed to doing so. The Independent Inequalities Commission recommended adoption of the duty by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in their recent report.

The scale of socio-economic inequalities in the UK have been highlighted by the pandemic. In spite of this, the UK government continues to choose not to enact the socio-economic duty nationally (the duty is contained in Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010). If enacted, the duty would legally require public authorities to actively consider the way in which their decisions increase or decrease the inequalities that result from socio-economic disadvantage.

As the duty hasn’t been enacted, some areas have taken matters into their own hands. The duty is now in force in Scotland (‘Fairer Scotland Duty’) (and is also being taken forward in Wales), and some combined and local authorities in England are voluntarily implementing it.

The need to formally recognise and address socio-economic disadvantage alongside other forms of inequality has never been more clear, as those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds have experienced some of the most severe health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

We believe that, if implemented, the socio-economic duty would provide a powerful foundation for the fairer society we all want to see. In the absence of action at a national level, we need to identify what we can do locally. Voluntary adoption of the duty can bring a number of benefits including:

  • Improving outcomes for local people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.
  • Supporting cross organisational and cross departmental working.
  • Raising awareness of socio-economic inequalities within organisations and among partners.
  • Ensuring widespread organisational commitment to, and consideration of, socio-economic inequalities.
  • Supporting the participation of low-income residents in decisions that affect them, especially in the context of (proposed) cuts to services.
  • Achieving greater consistency in practice – and an increased likelihood of maintaining such consistent practice across political administrations and between changes of individual leadership and turnover of staff.
  • Improving systematic approaches to equality impact assessments and assessment of policy and practice more broadly.
  • Strengthening systematic data gathering and analysis, especially in the conduct of equality impact assessments, thereby strengthening accountability.
  • Supporting the effective and efficient allocation of resources.

The guide is broken down into six sections:

  1. Meaningful impact assessments to understand the consequences of socio-economic disadvantage
  2. Using data effectively as a tool for decision-making and accountability
  3. Encouraging strong and visible leadership
  4. Principles of working in partnership with people with lived experience of socio-economic disadvantage
  5. Engaging with residents, civil society, and voluntary and community sector organisations
  6. Ensuring access to justice, and monitoring impact and compliance

GMPA Director Graham Whitham for GM Poverty ActionThe Guide has been developed by GMPA in partnership with Amnesty, Compassion in Politics, Equally Ours, Just Fair, Runnymede, Shelter, The Equality Trust and Thrive Teeside. It is available here.

Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Graham Whitham, CEO GMPA

 

 

 

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Tameside Poverty Truth Commission update

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July 2021

Over the past year, GMPA has been working to establish a Poverty Truth Commission (PTC) in Tameside. This is an important piece of work, central to GMPA’s belief that people with lived experience of poverty should be embedded in the decision-making structures and systems of Greater Manchester. The Tameside PTC will bring together people from various parts of the borough for the purpose of understanding the lived reality of those impacted by poverty and influencing policy and practice.

The Poverty Truth Commission, in a nutshell, starts by questioning what would happen if the people who have directly faced poverty, were involved in the making of decisions around poverty. This question comes from the belief that no lasting social change happens, without the people suffering under the status quo taking a lead in bringing about the change, a principle that can be seen throughout the history of social change, from the suffragettes to the civil rights movements.

The process involves bringing together fifteen testifying commissioners, all of whom have experienced poverty in one form or another and over time, this group spend time sharing stories and experiences with each other. They then consider who in the borough might have influence to bring change. Civic and business leaders are then invited to join the commission as co-commissioners. The Poverty Truth Commission is not about the leaders and organisations providing the solutions but is instead about developing a relationship of empathy between both sides and seeing what happens when their combined resources and wisdom are brought together.

You can hear from Fran, one of the Commissioners, about why she is involved and her hopes for bringing positive change in Tameside through the Commission here.

Over the past year, we have managed to recruit ten lived experience commissioners and 8 civic and business leaders. We have begun to meet in person and share stories over a few cooked breakfasts and have enjoyed getting to know one another and sharing experiences. We are on track to meeting our deadline for a launch event in Autumn 2021, where we will share publicly, some of the stories from our current commissioners. Our recruitment of lived experience commissioners is also still open until early September. For more information, email Beatrice  or call 07423014430. We look forward to sharing more with you next time. We are also delighted to welcome Hannah Lamberth to GMPA. She will be working on the Tameside PTC with me, and you can read more about her in the next newsletter.

Beatrice Smith for GM Poverty Action

Beatrice Smith
Tameside poverty Truth Commission Facilitator

Tameside Poverty Truth Commission is a Greater Manchester Poverty Action programme

 

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Food Security Pilot Projects.

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By Sian Mullen, Food Security Programme Coordinator

Alongside the VCSE sector and Local Authority partners, GMPA has started trialling a new approach to supporting
people experiencing food poverty in Tameside and Oldham. The approach centres around three fundamental points:

    1. Whilst emergency food handouts are currently necessary, they do not prevent or reduce food poverty.
    2. The only real way to reduce food poverty is to ensure people have access to a decent and reliable income.
    3. Identifying what kind of advice or support people need to maximise their income or access cash support, and who provides that advice, can be difficult.

Our response has been to develop and begin embedding a referral tool that enables anyone who refers people to a food bank to first identify income maximisation advice for people. We are also encouraging these agencies to make an active referral to an organisation who can support with this as opposed to signposting e.g. giving someone a phone number to call or a website to visit. The aim is to help tackle the underlying causes of food insecurity, and reduce demand for food banks and clubs.

The tool itself, based on a model developed in Scotland by A Menu for Change begins by identifying underlying issues that people presenting in food insecurity may be experiencing, such as job loss, benefit delays or sanctions, or debt.

The tool then directs referrers to some options that could help with these issues. For example, support to challenge a benefit sanction, budgeting advice, advice to reduce energy costs, or access to discretionary housing payments or the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme. If someone has no recourse to public funds, they may be eligible to get a cash grant to support themselves.

Finally the tool then directs referrers to a local organisation who can support the person with this process. For example, in Tameside, the Welfare Rights Team, Citizens Advice, and the GM Law Centre could all support someone to challenge a benefit decision. Or Infinity Initiatives could enable someone with no recourse to public funds to access a cash grant from the Migrant Destitution Fund.

As well as direct income maximisation support the tool also identifies areas of support that may help someone manages their finances better, for example it guides people to support for addictions, mental health issues, and homelessness.

We know that there are great organisations already working to refer service users on to the best support they can find, and this tool and process aims to embed this on a wider scale. People experiencing food insecurity often turn to places like schools, GPs, places of worship, and small community groups, so we need to ensure that these places, as well as larger VCSE sector organisations or Local Authorities recognise food insecurity as a symptom of poverty and treat it at its root cause. Equally, the tool allows those who may already be doing this kind of work, to more easily identify where to refer someone to, streamlining the process and maximising the chances of people getting the advice and support that they need.

Link to the online tool and Link to Advice Tameside website

Tameside Referral Tool for GM Poverty Action

Every year hundreds of millions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed across the UK, so we want to ensure people are accessing what they can. Other people may just need some help reducing energy costs or budgeting, or an interaction they have with a referrer might be the point when they’re finally able to ask for help with other issues such as mental health, or an addiction. Or there may be schemes that people have been unaware of such as a local welfare assistance scheme. During the consultation process that we carried out to develop the tool in Tameside, we already identified support that other organisations were unaware of.

We are continuing to work to ensure the tool is accessible and helpful for diverse ethnic communities. This includes developing translation documents to go alongside the tool in key languages used across the boroughs, and looking at how we can identify organisations which have language support available for people in need of advice.

Sian Mullen Food Poverty Programme Coordinator for GM Poverty Action

Sian Mullen

The Oldham tool is still being developed but you can download or use an online version of the tool for Tameside here. If you’re an organisation in Tameside who refers people to food banks we really encourage you to use this tool with people before sending them on to the food bank. If you are using the tool we’re really keen to collect any feedback you may have on it so we can adapt it as needed. You can share your feedback with us, or report how you’ve been using it, using the online forms available here.

When we have feedback from the pilot projects, we hope to encourage the development and rollout of similar tools in other boroughs of Greater Manchester – please look out for more information on this later in the year.

The Food Security Programme is a Greater Manchester Poverty Action programme

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Real Living Wage City Region

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Greater Manchester Real Living Wage Campaign Update

By John Hacking, Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign Co-ordinator.

May 12th was a very significant date for the campaign to make Greater Manchester a Real Living Wage City Region as it saw the first meeting of the City Region Living Wage Action Group chaired by the newly elected Mayor of GM, Andy Burnham.

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign (GMLWC) has been working towards the goal of making GM a Real Living Wage City Region for a number of years and the announcement in November 2020 by the  Mayor that it was his intention to make this vision a reality, was a massive step forward for our campaign to see a real improvement in the lives of thousands of low paid workers in our area.

Since the announcement I have (as reported in previous newsletters) been working with partners and stakeholders across GM to create the Living Wage Action Plan which was unveiled on May 12th. The Living Wage Action Plan Group will now work to outline a clear path towards the goal of all employers in the city-region paying the living wage and offering living hours by 2030, as recommended by the Independent Inequalities Commission in its report published earlier this year.

I have been, and will continue, to work on the Plan to ensure that there are ambitious targets and that there is the widest and most diverse possible involvement from all sectors and communities across GM.

The Action Plan Group will be chaired by Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and is made up of businesses, unions, local authorities, civil society, faith groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.  The Plan will focus on key sectors of the GM economy: ‘anchor institutions’, including large public sector organisations; local authorities; health and social care; hospitality and leisure; large employers; small and medium enterprises; and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

GMLWC along with GM Citizens will lead on the campaigns sub-group  focussing on using our local networks of Real Living Wage activists and advocates to target employers across GM working with local and national campaigns.

As part of the work to involve a wide and diverse group of people and organisations in the Campaign Subgroup, we will be holding a meeting of the GMLWC group in June. If you are on the database you will receive more information in the next couple of weeks. If you aren’t but want to be then please send your name, organisation (if applicable) and email address to me.

John Hacking GM Living Wage coordinator for GM Poverty Action

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign Coordinator John Hacking

In addition to this, we continue to work with partners across GM on a range of local campaigns. One of the activities we promote, and support, is to encourage more local authorities to become Real Living Wage Employers. As reported previously Bury Council recently made a commitment to become a Real Living Wage Employer. In the latest in our series of podcasts we spoke to Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Leader of Bury Council about a range of issues related to the fight against poverty and in particular the plans to make Bury Council the 4th local authority in GM to become a Living Wage Employer. You can listen the podcast on our website here

John Hacking, Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign Co-ordinator
Twitter: @GMlivingwage     Facebook: facebook.com/gmlivingwage

The Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign is a Greater Manchester Poverty Action programme.

 

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New End Child Poverty statistics

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New local child poverty figures show worrying trends

By Graham Whitham, CEO GMPA

Last week the End Child Poverty Coalition released new analysis showing child poverty rates across the UK by local authority area over the six years leading up to the pandemic. Even before the economy was hit by the pandemic, child poverty was becoming more entrenched in areas with already high levels of poverty and deprivation.

Of particular concern is the increase in child poverty in the North East, with the largest increases in child poverty between 2015/16 and 2019/20 happening in Newcastle upon Tyne (up 12.8%), Gateshead (up 11.2%), Redcar and Cleveland (up 10.6%) and County Durham (up 10.5%).

Whilst the increases in Greater Manchester haven’t been as sharp as in parts of the North East, there have been significant increases in Manchester (up 6.4%), Oldham (up 5.1%) and Bolton (4.1%). Across Greater Manchester as a whole, only one of our ten boroughs (Trafford) saw child poverty fall over this period – as shown in the table
below:End Child Poverty 2021 table

Nationally, the highest rates of child poverty remain concentrated in large conurbations like London and Birmingham.

In response to these concerning figures, the End Child Poverty Coalition is calling on the UK Government to recognise the scale of the problem and its impact on children’s lives and to create a credible plan to end child poverty which must include a commitment to increase child benefits. Given the extent to which families are already struggling, the planned £20 per week cut to Universal Credit in October 2021 should be revoked. The support should also be extended to those still receiving financial assistance from the old benefit system, referred to as ‘legacy benefits’, before they are switched to Universal Credit.

End Child Poverty infographic 2021

To read the full report please visit the End Child Poverty Coalition website.

GMPA is a member of the End Child Poverty Coalition steering group.

 

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Time for a step change in how we address socio-economic disadvantage

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by Graham Whitham

It was good to see the launch of the Greater Manchester Independent Inequalities Commission report last month. The Commission was launched in October 2020 with a six-month mission to examine inequalities across the city region, consider how they should be tackled and outline some specific and hard-hitting recommendations. The Commission viewed inequalities within a framework that considers how interacting and intersecting inequalities create barriers that stop people from living the good lives that they want.

COVID-19 has exposed the extent of these inequalities in Greater Manchester. To address this, the Commission’s report calls on everyone in the city-region to work towards an agreed set of wellbeing and equality targets that aim to leave no-one behind. Alongside this are a series of recommendations under the themes of People Power, Good Jobs and Decent Pay, Building Wealth and Services for a Good Life. You can read more about the recommendations here.

GMPA supported the work of the Commission by bringing together a ‘Poverty Reference Group’. The group was made up of people with lived experience of poverty who have been involved in engagement and co-production projects across Greater Manchester (including poverty truth commissions, the Elephants Project, Creative Inclusion, the BME Network, GM Coalition of Disabled People, Migrant Help, Support & Action Women’s Network, and Legislative Theatre). The aim of the group was to inform and reflect on the work of the commission, complementing other engagement work (including engaging with the Equalities Panels). The meetings generated a range of innovative recommendations that were grounded in real world experience of poverty, including how to:

•  Reduce barriers to employment, and tackle stigma and bias in recruitment and in the workplace;
•  Improve job quality, and increase access to education and training;
•  Listen meaningfully to communities;
•  Give communities the power to tackle for themselves the problems that affect them.

A number of key areas that GMPA has been working on are included in the report, including a call for the Combined Authority to adopt the socio-economic duty and, building on the Poverty Reference Group, the establishment of a new Panel for people with lived experience of poverty to inform and shape policy.

GMPA wants to see a city-region where we put tackling socio-economic disadvantage at the heart of what we do. We have more councils (working with partners) with poverty strategies in place and examples of good practice and innovation in tackling poverty across Greater Manchester. The Real Living Wage is become more embedded, with plans to create a Living Wage City Region. GMPA is working hard to create a stronger focus on preventing and reducing poverty.

Graham Whitham, CEO GMPA for GM Poverty Action

Graham Whitham, CEO GMPA

We need to go further and embed a focus on poverty and socio-economic disadvantage in everything we do. It is helpful therefore, that the Commission has articulated a clear framework for understanding the intersection between socio-economic disadvantage and poverty and other inequalities.

Next week Greater Manchester goes to the polls for the Mayoral Election. It is important that together with whoever wins, we implement the recommendations of the Commission.

 

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Tameside Poverty Truth Commission

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Tameside Poverty Truth Commission: Recruiting for Commissioners

We are currently recruiting 12 to 15 key civic and business leaders, and 12 to 15 people with lived experience of poverty from across Tameside.

Do you live in Tameside and have lived experience of poverty or know anyone who does?

Would you be interested in sharing your story of the struggles you have faced with people in positions of influence within Tameside so that together we can come up with ideas that will help others living in poverty?

The Poverty Truth Commission is a unique project where relationships are prioritised. A group of people who would not normally meet are brought together because of their lived experience and expertise and are able to use their voice to influence and shape a better Tameside.

We are looking to invite 12-15 people of all ages and backgrounds to join this commission. Initially we will meet weekly (using zoom until we can meet face to face) to get to know each other. There will then be a launch event where we will invite key decision makers to hear the impact of poverty in Tameside. After that, we will meet monthly with a group of 12-15 civic/business leaders and together we will spend time getting to know each other and deeply listening to the struggles that people face. We will not jump to quick solutions but instead think about better solutions that will help Tameside become a place where everyone can thrive.

If you are interested in joining this commission we would love to hear from you. Do get in touch with Beatrice Smith on 07423 014430. Alternatively, you can email Beatrice.

More information about the Tameside Poverty Truth Commission

 

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